Spring Sports Ready to Compete

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The University of Utah men’s lacrosse team practices at the Spence Eccles Field House in Salt Lake City, Utah on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.(Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Emily Dush, Sports Writer

 

After months of uncertainty surrounding how the Pac-12 conference was going to handle the athletics program, college athletes had to constantly adjust to the ever-changing rules and guidelines that have made things difficult for athletes to be certain of a season. Luckily, the situation has taken a turn for the better as athletes and sports teams are preparing to finally begin their seasons amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has turned the world on its head.

Due to the pandemic, it’s been nearly a year since many of the spring sports athletes have taken their respective fields of competition. Now, these athletes have the chance to take the stage again and compete after months of uncertainty. 

Men and Women’s Tennis 

Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams are looking to bring their momentum from last season into this season and continue to build the program. Men’s tennis has already started their duel season with several wins and is looking to work out the kinks before starting Pac-12 play in March. Women’s tennis is coming off of a solid season last year where the team went 10-5 before the abrupt end. They are looking to make bigger strides this season, especially in conference play, which begins in early March. 

Men’s Lacrosse

In their third season, the men’s lacrosse team is looking to build off last season’s success and take the program to an elite level. After last year, which consisted of only six games, the Utes are looking at a full schedule this season with their first game taking place on Jan. 30. This season, the Utes will be playing competitive schools such as Denver, Virginia, and Syracuse. The Utes will also host three events against Jacksonville, Westminster College, and Robert Morris (PA). 

Softball

After a halting stop to the season, the Utes are looking forward to stepping back on the field of competition. While the schedule has not been officially set yet, the softball team takes a trip to Arizona on Feb. 11 for their first round of the competition. The Utes have a good mix of freshmen joining the team looking to make an early impact, while there is a great group of upperclassmen and seniors looking forward to finishing what they started last season.

Baseball 

Baseball season is here and the Utes are looking at a solid schedule mostly made up of schools from the Pac-12 conference. Last season, the Utes had a tight record of 6-7 before the season was canceled. This season, the Utes are looking to get another look at it with their first game on the road against the University of Texas, San Antonio. This year the Utes have twelve talented new additions to the team, including two transfers from the University of Houston and the University of Nevada. The baseball team will begin their season on Feb. 19.

Soccer

The Utah women’s soccer team finds themselves in a new position as their season was moved to the spring because of COVID-19. While the team will be playing mostly conference opponents this year, they will officially begin the season against BYU on Feb. 6. 

Volleyball

Like soccer, the Utah volleyball team is playing their season in the spring because of COVID-19. But this hasn’t stopped the team from coming out swinging, as Utah volleyball is currently ranked in the top-10 of the national rankings. This team is looking to keep building on a perfect start and set new records for the program as Utah is favored to win the Pac-12. While there continues to be no fans permitted, there will be 11 home games this season, all taking place in the Huntsman Center. 

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, fans will not be allowed to watch the competitions in person unless they are family or friends of the athletes. All athletes and teams are looking forward to the times when fans will be able to watch in person and cheer on the Utes. Despite not being able to watch in person, most sports will be available for fans to watch through live streaming or on TV via ESPN or the PAC-12 Network. While these seasons are not ideal and outside the norm, athletes have been able to adapt to the change and are now being given the opportunity to compete in their sport once again. 

 

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@DushEmily